Intramural sports are immensely popular at the University of Miami. Groups of friends form teams to compete in varieties of sports and have fun. Some teams, like Boss Players, the three-time fall flag football regular season champions, play to win titles and leave a legacy.
Four buddies, all sophomores, decided to collaborate with some freshmen on their floor to form an intramural squad. What began as a chance for former high school athletes from a multitude of athletic backgrounds to get some exercise turned into a football dynasty thanks in part to a unique game plan.
Adam Donnelly, Evan Pike, Jeremy Rose and J.T. Thompson consider themselves to be the founders of Boss Players. They decided to attack the seven-on-seven, no contact sport with proper game planning and execution.
“We have a pretty intricate play-book,” Donnelly said. “We run two base plays and rely on improvisation from our quarterback, Brian O’Reilly, who is the only one on the field who doesn’t know the plays.”
Although O’Reilly does not call the shots, he is vital to Boss Players’ success. After getting the snap, the former high school soccer player is supposed to scramble and find open receivers, who are running designed routes.
Donnelly said O’Reilly is the best player in the league and can be directly linked to the team’s fall season success.
“We focus on putting people in the right place,” Donnelly said. “Brian is
great at that. That is why he’s better than anyone else. You can’t play zone against us because he will find an open receiver eventually.”
A highlight for Boss Players was participating in the Swamp Bowl,aflagfoot-ball tournament in Gainesville where the winner of UM’s preseason tournament competes against University of Florida teams and other in-state schools.
The team did well, winning one game before dropping the next two by thin margins in the double elimination tournament. Boss Players is off to a rough start this spring, with a current record of 3-2 because of a pair of losses to Smuggling Yo-Yos. The squad will get another shot at revenge Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on the IM Fields.
“Steve McClung, one of our best players, missed the last game,” he said. “Having him back will help us contain their pass rush, which did well against us last time.”
The team does not limit itself to flag football. Boss Players play co-rec softball, football, indoor football, volleyball, men’s softball and basketball. It has accumulated a couple of championships in those sports as well.
With several members graduating in the next year, there is talk of the Boss Players tradition being carried on.
“Every year we talk about stopping after winning a championship,” Donnelly said. “There has been talk about keeping it going after we’re gone, but they would have to recruit new players in the fall.”
Eric Kalis can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.